VOL. XXXVII. MAY 15 No. 10
A.D. 1916--A.M. 6044
Machinations of the Evil One--How
to Vanquish Him . . . . . 147
Two Classes of Elect . . . . . 147
How to Resist Satan's Attacks . . 148
Non-Resistance of Evil . . . . . 149
Christians Not to Exact Justice . . 149
Appeals for Justice Sometimes Proper . 149
The Divine Law of Love . . . . 149
Witnesses to the Truth . . . . . 150
"God's Plans Like Lilies White Unfold" 150
The "Truth People" . . . . . 150
The Macedonian Appeal . . . . . 151
Be Ready, For the Days Are Evil (Poem) . 152
We Reap What We Sow . . . . . . 153
What It is to Sow to the Flesh . . 153
Some Pastoral Counsel on Marriage . . 154
Character Development . . . . . 155
A Blind Boy's Wisdom . . . . . . 157
Interesting Letters . . . . . . 158
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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1916--BIBLE STUDENTS' CONVENTION--1916
We have arranged for four General Conventions this year:
One at Sioux City, Iowa, four days, July 6 to 9.
One at Newport, R.I., eight days, July 9 to 16.
One at Norfolk, Va., nine days, July 22 to 30.
One at Long Beach, near Los Angeles, California, nine days, September 2 to 10.
If possible, we will arrange for still another Convention-- convenient to northern Kentucky, southern Indiana and Ohio --provided some suitable place can be found where the Conventioners could have good accommodations, large Auditorium and a welcome. Thus many will have an opportunity for attending good, large-sized Conventions without going a very great distance or involving a very heavy expense.
In every instance it may be expected that accommodations will be arranged for at a cost of from $1.25 per day upward. It would not be safe for any one to calculate on any less expense than $1.25 per day over and above the cost of transportation. We urge nobody to attend, and we especially urge that no one either borrow money or use up his last dollar in this way. If the Lord wishes you to come, He will, no doubt, make it reasonably possible for you. If not, His blessing will be upon you as you seek to learn the Truth and to enter into heart-fellowship with the Brethren who will be assembling. We can journey more and enjoy more in our minds, when they are wisely and properly exercised along loving, generous, sympathetic lines.
Sioux City claims to be an ideal place for the Convention. One of these claims is that it is central to a considerable population. We shall expect at least a thousand in attendance.
Newport, R.I., is too well known to need description. It is an ideal summer resort of high class, to which are attracted many from New England and Eastern States. We shall hope to meet fully two thousand Conventioners here.
Norfolk claims a splendid climate with delightful sea-breezes in summer. The friends there promise us good accommodations. The locality will be a desirable one for very many. It is near several good summer resorts--Old Point Comfort, Virginia Beach, etc. Their popularity seems to bear out the claims that Norfolk has a salubrious climate. We shall hope to meet nearly two thousand Conventioners here.
Long Beach, Cal., near Los Angeles, is said to be an ideal place--doubtless the most suitable that could be found on the Coast. We shall hope for a thousand Conventioners here.
INTERESTING QUESTIONS FOR MATURE BIBLE
The Society is sending out to all Pilgrim Brethren a series of questions respecting the teachings of the Bible. They are not difficult for those who are well informed respecting the Divine Plan of the Ages. The Society wishes, however, to see how clearly and concisely its representatives can answer such queries. The suggestion has come to us that others would like to have copies of these questions and to have the opportunity of presenting their answers. We would be pleased to have the matter so, and will send the questions to any of our subscribers, on request. We believe that the suggestion is especially good in respect to those who are occupying any position of influence or service amongst the Brethren. It does us all good to think, and helps to establish us as respects what we know well and what we do not so clearly know, and thus leads on to a clearer knowledge of the Truth and to the graces which, properly, should accompany every step of knowledge.
THE WATCH TOWER FREE LIST
Strictly speaking, we have no free list; that is to say, the Postal Laws require that all subscriptions be paid for. However, many desire to read our journal who are in dependent or very poor circumstances. Some kind friends have provided a fund out of which these may be supplied according to the law. Now is the time to send in your renewal of the requests, if you are on the poor list, in order that your subscription may be renewed, as though you sent in the money. A post-card will do. The following words will be understood to mean that you are not so circumstanced as to be able to pay for the journal, but desire it. Say: "Your offer of THE WATCH TOWER for the ensuing year is noted, and accepted, with appreciation." (Sign.)
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MACHINATIONS OF THE EVIL
ONE--HOW TO VANQUISH HIM
"Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you."--`James 4:7`.
THE word Devil represents that evil one who through unholy ambition became the first opponent of God, who attempted to set up a rival government to that of the Almighty, and who was cast out of Heaven and cut off from all association with holy beings. His name, which was once Lucifer, shining one, was changed to that of Satan, meaning the hater, the accuser. He who was once called, "Son of the Morning," became the Prince of the "rulers of darkness." (`Isaiah 14:12-16`; `Ephesians 6:11,12`.) Not only did he do evil to himself and cease to be an angel of light, a "morning star," but he became the instigator of evil, a leader into evil. According to the Scriptural account, he has succeeded in leading astray from God, not only the entire human family, by luring our first parents into disobedience, but has also misled a large number of the Heavenly hosts of angels into sin and opposition to Jehovah.
This may upon the surface appear to be a great triumph of Satan over the Almighty God; but such is not the case. God has at all times been Master of the situation. He has purposed to permit all this deflection to teach a great lesson to both angels and men. It is His purpose, "in due time," to judge all these sinners, both angelic and human, by a company that He is now preparing, and to restore to harmony with Himself all who have properly learned their lesson as to the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the desirableness of righteousness and of obedience. We understand that the only exceptions to this rule are Satan himself and some who after having been clearly enlightened, will deliberately choose sin. Satan has become inseparably connected with sin; and his destruction is plainly declared in the Scriptures, as is also that of those who have so imbibed his spirit as to make it impossible to renew them again to repentance--whether in the Gospel Age or in the Millennium.--`Hebrews 2:14`; `Matthew 25:41`; `Hebrews 6:4-6`; `10:26-29`.
God has promised to deliver mankind from Satan's power and his blinding influences. He has promised to open all the blind eyes, and to unstop the deaf ears, and to take away the veil that is spread over all nations. (`2 Corinthians 4:4`; `Isaiah 35:5`; `25:7,8`.) This work is soon to be inaugurated in the Messianic Kingdom, which God has arranged to establish upon earth, under Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus taught us to pray for that Kingdom, saying, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven." When this Kingdom is set up, the Lord Jesus will bind that "old Serpent, the Devil," with a great chain, that he may deceive the nations no more for a thousand years, while Christ will be lifting up all mankind from sin, degradation and death-- up to the perfection originally lost in Adam. The interim between the time of man's fall into sin and the time of his deliverance and restoration from that fall has been utilized in preliminary features of God's Plan leading step by step to this glorious outcome.
TWO CLASSES OF ELECT
In shadows and types the Lord has prefigured the great work which He is to accomplish for all mankind. During these ages of types, He was preparing a class of elect ones who should rule over the world as "princes in all the earth," during the Millennial Kingdom. During the present Gospel Age, God has been selecting, or electing, a very choice class to be exalted with Christ as Divine, spiritual beings, to reign with Him as His immediate associates in this Kingdom for the blessing of all the world. These are to give instructions to those who shall have charge of the earthly phase of the Kingdom. These are the special Elect, who suffer with Jesus now, following in His footsteps, that they may be exalted with Him to the highest position to which God has ever called any of His intelligent creatures.
This Church of Christ have had their eyes opened in advance of the world, to see the great difference between righteousness and sin, between the character of God and that of Satan. They have unqualifiedly taken their stand on the side of God. They have therefore escaped from the domination of the great Enemy of God. No longer is he their Prince. These have "passed from death unto life." They now have a standing with God, the relationship of sons.
No other members of the human race since the fall of Adam have been sons of God. These are not earthly sons, as was Adam, but spiritual sons. Theirs is a Heavenly Calling, the distinctive offer of the present Age. They still have some of the fleshly weaknesses which they inherited as members of the fallen race, but they have become New Creatures in Christ, with new hopes, new aims, new aspirations. They are begotten of God's Holy Spirit to a new nature, to be a New Creation; and their unavoidable blemishes are covered by the white robe of their Savior's perfect righteousness. His perfection is thus imputed to them, that they may be acceptable sacrifices with Christ, as members of His Body.
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THE WILL A STRONG DEFENSE AGAINST SATAN
Satan, who is the opposer of God and who has led astray some of the holy angels, opposes these who have escaped from his thraldom and who have these new hopes and aspirations. He does not need to make such attacks upon the world; for they are already in his power --"The whole world lieth in the Wicked One." (`1 John 5:19`, Diaglott.) He attacks only those who are trying to get free from him. When the spider perceives that the fly which he has entrapped is struggling and is about to get loose from the web, he instantly hastens to throw additional webs around his victim. So when Satan sees any of his subjects endeavoring to free themselves from his entanglements, he at once sets about throwing stronger coils around them, to prevent if possible their escape.
But Satan cannot overcome a decided human will. God has given every creature this defense; and whoever does not break down this defense by a persistent yielding up of that will to evil influence, can resist the power of sin and of Satan to a considerable degree. But poor humanity need Divine help to free themselves entirely from this great Adversary and his hosts of evil. The position of the Christian is invulnerable so long as he keeps close to the Source of his strength. Greater is He that is on our part than all that can be against us. If the time were come for the binding of Satan, our Lord would attend to it at once. But it has not yet fully come. God's children need not feel, however, that they must flee from Satan and his hosts. They have no such power that we need to strive to get away from them. But rather we should stand our ground, and should firmly resist their influence, knowing that with every temptation God has promised and provided a way of escape. With this knowledge we may be strong in the presence of any adversary.
MAMMON--THE IMPERSONATION OF SELFISHNESS
The Apostle Paul says that we war not against flesh and blood merely, but against spiritual wickedness, or as the margin reads, "wicked spirits" in high positions--the great army of fallen angels under the captaincy of the Devil, the prince of demons. (`Ephesians 6:12`.) He is the powerful leader of fallen angels and fallen men, of all who may be on the side of wrong. Many are fighting on his side because they are deluded, blinded. They are unwittingly rendering him service. There are two masters: one is God and the other is Mammon. Jesus said, "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." (`Matthew 6:24`.) We must serve either the one or the other.
Mammon was the name of an ancient Syrian god-- the god of riches, of cupidity, the impersonation of worldliness. Today mammon means the spirit of the world, selfishness, with its avarice and love of wealth. Satan is the promoter of this mammon spirit. St. Paul tells us how we may know which master we are serving. He says, "His servants ye are to whom ye render obedience." (`Romans 6:16`.) If we are giving time and thought to grasping after riches and worldly honors, if our influence is for war and strife, for selfishness in any form, if our sympathies and affections are tending earthward rather than Heavenward, then we are serving mammon, the worldly spirit, and are thus serving Satan, whether we realize it or not. Close and careful scrutiny of his thoughts, words and doings in the light of the Word of God will soon show any Christian whether he is rendering service to his rightful Master or to the Adversary. Whoever is serving the Devil is his servant, is in his army. If we are serving the cause of righteousness, and that only, we are on the Lord's side.
HOW TO RESIST SATAN'S ATTACKS
The Lord's children are to see to it that they are not deluded into sin and into the service of sin; to that extent they would be deserting their colors and taking their stand as opponents of the Lord. When Christians take a decided stand against Satan and his wiles, they are relieved from his attacks--not that he flees from them in the sense that he is fearful of harm to himself, but that he will leave them. He will retreat just as a general of an army would retreat from a city after having found that its gates were strongly protected and that attack was useless. If the Adversary finds one well protected and resisting him with a firm will, he will at once retreat. But if there be any parley with sin, any tendency to consider a matter when it is seen to be sin, an entrance is at once made for the Adversary; and he will renew the
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attack and press the matter, placing it in the most alluring light, in order that he may take control, that he may enter the heart where he has found the weakness.
Hence it is of the utmost importance that the child of God should make a positive and prompt decision when he realizes that he is being enticed to evil. A moment's hesitation is very dangerous. Those who take their stand for the Lord, who give themselves fully and unreservedly to Him, He has agreed to protect. He may permit them to be assailed for a time, but He will deliver them so long as they remain loyal and true; and they will be made stronger as the result of the temptations.
THE ADVERSARY'S METHOD OF ATTACK
The attacks of the Adversary are usually made through his angels. We are not to suppose that the Devil himself is in every part of the world at the same time, or in the minds of all the people of the world--nor even in the minds of all God's people. We are to suppose that wherever any of Satan's agents are there is activity. The fallen angels are ever ready to intrude upon the rights and liberties of humanity, and to bring them more fully into subjection, if possible. But they particularly endeavor to entrap the Lord's children. The Adversary seems to be always on the alert to enter the army of the Church and to try to make havoc in its ranks.
Satan acts upon the minds of humanity. The mind, being imperfect through the fall, has thus inherited tendencies toward sin. The assaults of the Adversary may come through human beings that suggest wrong thoughts to others. He probably gets in his work more often in this way than in any other. The Apostle urges all the children of God to let no evil communication proceed out of their mouth. Evil communications often have the effect of tearing down character, and every Christian should be on the alert, not only for his own protection, but also for the protection of others. Each child of God should see that his own heart is kept pure and so free from guile that he will be in no danger of communicating evil of any sort to another by his words. We should carefully guard our conduct, that no thoughtless act of ours should be a cause of injury to any one or bring a reflection upon the Truth, which we love so well, and to the service of which we have committed ourselves.
"He is come to claim His Throne,
And to make thy life His own.
Voices of this passing earth,
Echoes of its praise or mirth,
Reach not where the heart hath heard
Golden music of His Word.
'All for Jesus' henceforth be!
Live for Him who died for thee!"
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NON-RESISTANCE OF EVIL
"See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." "Resist not evil."-- `1 Thessalonians 5:15`; `Matthew 5:39`.
PERHAPS every well-balanced man has a natural disposition to exact justice from those who do him harm. There is a sense of justice apparently in all people, which leads them to feel that, if they have been unjustly treated, some punishment should be meted out to those who mistreated them; and their first impulse is to exact justice. God's Law is based upon justice, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Our minds instinctively recognize this Law of Retribution.
During the existence of the Jewish nation, their Law required that justice should be done. If the ox of Shimei the Benjamite gored the ox of Eliab the Zebulunite, then Shimei's ox was to be killed or the full amount of damage met by him; for the owner of the gored ox must be fully recompensed. And so it was in all matters.
The principle of justice is a proper one. It would be ill for the world if justice were not recognized. In the world's courts there is an attempt to give justice, so that if one's ox is gored the owner could go to the courts and have redress. We see the righteousness of this arrangement, the wisdom of it. But in the case of the Church, the Lord has made a new provision. The Church is called out of the world, and its members are to realize that they are no longer of the world. They are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They are to suffer injustice. Jesus gave Himself up to suffer for the unjust. Those who are followers of Jesus are to have His spirit of sacrifice in the interests of others. Whoever does not follow His example in this respect demonstrates that he has not the Spirit of Christ. And whoever has not the Spirit of Christ would better not start to follow in His footsteps; for such will not be sharers in His glory.
CHRISTIANS NOT TO EXACT JUSTICE
"Even Christ pleased not Himself." When He was evil entreated, He did not say, "Do not harm Me or I will retaliate." Such was not the Lord's spirit. He knew that He would be maltreated. He remembered the commission which the Father had given Him. He bore in mind that those with whom He had to do were fallen. He did not seek to get justice from them. He submitted the whole matter to the Father; and on behalf of the whole world, even of those who were doing Him injustice, He died, that by and by all might be reconciled to God through His death.
As followers of Jesus, we, like Him, resign our rights rather than try to get them. So we are different from others. We have a knowledge of God's Plan for the forgiveness of sin. We are suffering as members of the Body of Christ, filling up that which was left behind of the sufferings of our Head, and we are to rejoice in the privilege of doing this. But if we were to render evil for evil and to exact justice from everybody, we would be losing our privilege of sacrificing for righteousness' sake; for the Divine arrangement is that if we suffer with Jesus in the interest of the same truths for which He suffered, if we become dead with Him, we shall live and reign with Him. If, therefore, we should have the independent spirit of the world, and should say, "If you do injury to me I will surely get even with you," we would not have the Spirit of Christ.
Jesus knew that it was the Father's will that He should be a Sin-Offering, that He should suffer "the Just for the unjust." And He invites us to walk with Him in this way, to be sharers of His sufferings, and thus be sharers in His glory in the Kingdom. It behooves each of the Lord's followers therefore to see that he does not render evil for evil. The Apostle might have been understood to mean, Let no man render evil for evil to the brethren; but he makes it broader and says, "unto any man"--not merely among yourselves follow that which is good, but among all mankind.
APPEALS FOR JUSTICE SOMETIMES PROPER
This does not mean that it would not be proper under some circumstances to appeal for justice to the law, in whatever country we might be living; but it means that when the law has decided the matter against us we should submit. If the law should take away your coat and your cloak, be submissive to the law. To a certain extent we are to permit ourselves to be imposed upon. If the case be one merely of personal feelings, there would be no proper ground for resistance. If the case be one that affects the Lord's Cause, it would seem to be a matter of appeal for relief, that we might get whatever the world is willing to give us which would be for the furtherance of the Gospel.
We see that in our Lord's case, when He was unjustly sentenced, He inquired respecting the justice of the matter. He put the matter to the Court. This was not resistance. In the case of St. Paul, we remember not only that he fled from some places where they persecuted him, but that in other cases he appealed, which it was wise to do, to a higher tribunal. In one instance, perceiving that the whole matter was one of injustice, and seeing that the mob around him were of two kinds-- some being Sadducees and some Pharisees, with the Pharisees being in the majority, He called out, "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. For the resurrection of the dead am I called in question!" Thus he appealed to the Pharisee element of the crowd, and set them more or less at variance with the Sadducees. He said, I am like the Pharisee in my belief of a resurrection from the dead. He did no evil to the Sadducees, but merely sought to bring to his sympathy and support those who had some faith and interest in the resurrection, that thus he might dissuade them from persecution of himself. In another instance, the Apostle was about to be beaten unjustly; and as they were binding him he said to a centurion standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?" This immediately brought the Apostle release from his distressing circumstances. He did not say, "If you beat me, I will make it a sad day for you!" We do not know that St. Paul would even have reported the matter, if he had been unjustly treated. We have every reason to suppose that he would not have done so. On another occasion, when he was beaten very sorely, we have no knowledge that he endeavored to prevent the injustice. He merely
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accepted it as of the Lord's permission.
In the case in which he referred to his Roman citizenship and asked, Does the law give you the right to do me harm? we are given a clue as to our own proper course under similar circumstances. We, likewise, could say, if unlawfully arrested or interfered with in doing the work of the Lord, "Are you acting according to the instructions of the law? Am I violating any of its provisions? Have I not the rights of a citizen of this state?" And if the officer was exceeding his authority, the provisions of the law should be pointed out in a reasonable manner, without any manifestation of a retaliatory spirit.
THE DIVINE LAW OF LOVE
Coming back to the matter of rendering evil for evil: we might be asked, Suppose that a burglar entered our house and we could find the burglar, should we put him in prison? One view would be, "Yes; put him in prison
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Make it a sore day for him." Another view would be, "No; we have no desire for revenge. We do not wish to do him injury in return." At the same time here is a man at large, violating the laws and menacing the safety and interests of the community. So we would feel that we should report the man to the authorities and turn him over to justice. We would wish to shield the public and also to check the evil-doer in his wrong course.
This seems to be the thought of the Scriptures--that so far as our hearts are concerned we are to be perfectly willing to endure evil for righteousness' sake; for we are called to suffer for the cause of righteousness. We are not to return evil for evil. We are not to resist evil, in the sense of trying to retaliate and get revenge for injuries done us. Rather let the evil be repeated. This was the Master's course; and it is a part of our covenant with the Lord to share in the persecution and sufferings of our Head, to endure opposition and injustice for the Truth's sake, for Christ's sake.
The more of this unselfish love we have, the more Godlike shall we be. God is unselfish, whereas the whole world is selfish. It is but natural that mankind should be selfish after six thousand years' experience with sin. Would it not be strange indeed if the whole world were not marked with selfishness, with the desire to advance the interests of self at the expense of others? But this course is contrary to the Divine Law of Love. We, therefore, as children of God, are to endeavor to rid ourselves of personal selfishness and of merely seeking our own good. We are to try to do good to every one as far as possible, according to the course of wisdom and our opportunities, especially to those who are fellow members of the Body of Christ, those traveling the same narrow course of self-sacrifice.
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WITNESSES TO THE TRUTH
"Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a King, then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the Truth. Every one that is of the Truth heareth My voice."--`John 18:37`.
WE RECALL that these words of the Master were uttered when the Jews brought Him before Pilate and accused Him of setting Himself up to be a King. Pilate asked Him, "Art Thou a King, then?" His answer was, "To this end was I born"--For this purpose was I born--"for this cause came I into the world."
God had arranged that there should be a King Emmanuel, a Priestly King, who would put an end to sin and restore sinners (as many as were willing) to God's favor. It had been foretold through the Prophets that the time would come when a King should reign in righteousness, when princes should rule in judgment (`Isaiah 32:1`.), and when every knee should bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God. So our Lord Jesus now declared in answer to Pilate's question, that He had come into the world to this end. If there had been no world to be redeemed, no world to be brought back into harmony with God, the Logos would not have needed to come down to dwell among men. If God had not purposed that there should be a Kingdom and a King, it would have been wholly unnecessary that our Lord should die, for there would have been no world to be blessed and lifted up as a result of His great work.
The latter part of the text says, "that I should bear witness to the Truth." While all of our Lord's utterances were, of course, truths, there was a certain great Truth to which He was bearing witness. Not only was He speaking truthfully, but He was also upholding the Truth. God had created man. He had turned out badly--was a discredit to his Creator. The reign of Sin and Death was a discredit to God and a disgrace to all good government. Under such circumstances it would seem a reasonable question to ask, "Why not destroy creatures so unworthy and discreditable?" Because Jehovah had declared that the curse resting upon man should be rolled away, and that a great blessing should come to the world, through Abraham's Seed, and not one jot or one tittle of God's Purpose could fail of accomplishment.
"GOD'S PLANS LIKE LILIES WHITE UNFOLD"
Hundreds, yes, thousands of years had passed since God's Promise to Abraham; and no blessing had come, no rolling away of the curse! But God had remained true. His Word had not been broken, could not be broken. He purposed to bless the world, and He would surely accomplish all His design. This is the great Truth--that Jehovah God has provided salvation for "all the families of the earth." The types of the Law foreshadowed it. The Prophets testified to it; "Yea, all the Prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold these days" of blessedness to come. Our Lord Jesus while in the flesh bore witness to this Truth. He declared the fact that God had not misrepresented Himself and His Plan.
Our Lord had come into the world for the very purpose of being that great King who was to bless all of Adam's fallen race. He came proclaiming this Kingdom, and the Jews said, "How can He be a King? He cannot accomplish anything!" And now, here He was before Pilate, still declaring Himself to be a King. For three and a half years He had borne witness to the great Truth that God's will should be accomplished, that God's Kingdom should yet be established under the whole heavens. And it will be fully consummated, through the great One who was there crucified as a malefactor. Verily,
"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform!"
The rejection of Jesus made it seem as though God's whole Plan had been turned aside. It seemed as though those unbelieving Jews had triumphed over the great Jehovah. Yet we see that the crucifixion of Messiah was the very thing necessary to the accomplishment of God's Purpose. It was necessary that Christ should redeem the human family by His own death before He could restore them through His Millennial Reign. But to the world at large this great Truth is still obscure. Jesus assures His disciples that to them it has been given to know the mysteries; but to all outsiders, all not in fullest harmony with God, these things are given in parables and dark sayings; and hearing they do not understand, and seeing they perceive not.
THE "TRUTH PEOPLE"
It seems rather remarkable to the Editor that without any effort on our part this word "Truth," and the term, "Truth people," are identified with ourselves. What we have is the Truth--nothing else but the Truth, the Bible Truth! This is the only word we could use. The denominations have taken up the other names, and we have left us simply this term--"the Truth." And without any preconcerted action in any way that we are aware of, this expression, "Truth people," seemed to get about as applied to us. We are, indeed, bearing witness to the Truth--the same Truth to which our Master bore witness
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even unto death--about the Kingdom, about Jesus' leaving His glorious prehuman estate and coming into the world, about His going into the Heavenly glory again, to a far higher station than was His before. We are bearing witness to the truth that God is not a vicious God, a cruel God--that He never purposed to doom man to eternal torture, but has promised that the curse of sin and death shall be swept away forever. The witness is just the same today, along the same line, as proclaimed by our Lord and His Apostles.
All who are of the Truth hear the Truth, and love to bear witness to the Truth. Yet in our case, as in the Master's case, the world knoweth us not. It knows us not because it knew Him not. The world, especially the religious world of Christendom, is disposed to crucify us as it crucified Him, only we are living in a more civilized time and the Scribes, the Pharisees and the Doctors of the Law apparently find it more difficult today than of old to incite the people to destroy our lives. But by God's grace we will continue to bear witness to the Truth until the dark night comes "wherein no man can work," should our lives be spared till then.
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THE MACEDONIAN APPEAL
--JUNE 4.--`ACTS 16:6-15`.--
ST. PAUL'S SECOND MISSIONARY TOUR--MARKED EVIDENCE OF DIVINE SUPERVISION OF ALL THE INTERESTS OF GOD'S CHURCH--GOSPEL SENT TO EUROPE--PREACHING IN PHILIPPI --LYDIA OF THYATIRA AND HER HOUSEHOLD BELIEVED.
"Come over into Macedonia and help us."--`Verse 9`.
FOR some time after the Conference at Jerusalem, St. Paul and Barnabas remained at Antioch. But seeing that there were many laborers there and that a larger field was little worked, they planned a second missionary tour. Barnabas and his nephew John Mark went in one direction, while St. Paul went in another with Silas, with whom he had become acquainted at the Jerusalem Conference, and who is reported to have been a Roman citizen, as was St. Paul. It is with these two that we have to do in today's Study.
Their course lay through Syria and Cilicia to the cities of Derbe and Lystra. In these places they confirmed the faith of such as had already been accepted of the Lord through the Apostle's first missionary tour and through the working of the Truth during the interim. It was at Lystra that they found Timothy, a young man of Jewish mother and well trained in the Word by her and his grandmother--his father being a Greek.--`2 Tim. 1:3-5`.
We note that amongst the things presented to the Churches was the decision of the Jerusalem Conference that the Jewish Law should not be considered binding upon the Gentiles, except in certain features noted in our last Study. To some it has seemed inconsistent that at the same time when the Apostle was calling this decision to the attention of the brethren he should cause Timothy to be circumcised. But when properly understood, St. Paul's conduct was thoroughly consistent. Circumcision was no part of the Mosaic Law, but was instituted with Abraham, centuries previous, as a mark or sign upon all the children of Abraham. (`Genesis 17:9-14`.) The Council at Jerusalem did not decide that no Jew should be circumcised thenceforth, but that circumcision should not be considered necessary to a Christian.
The thought is that the fact that one is a child of Abraham according to the flesh is not sufficient to make him a New Creature in Christ; and therefore circumcision of the flesh will not accomplish this. Since the New Creature is received of God as a member of the Body of Christ, he must as a New Creature have the circumcision of the heart in order to be a Spiritual Israelite, whether previously he was a Jew or a Gentile. Circumcision of the heart signifies a cutting off--a separation from the flesh, its aims, hopes, desires, etc.
We see, then, that there could be no objection to the circumcision of Timothy--that it would neither help nor hinder him spiritually--if done with the clear understanding that it was only a figure, and not the real circumcision which constituted Timothy a member of the Body of Christ, the Church. Timothy's mother being a Jew, he was a Jew, even though his father had been a Greek. And this fact becoming known to Jews in general with whom they would come into contact while traveling, inquiry might be made as to whether Timothy had been circumcised. If he had not been, the implication would be that he had been a renegade Jew. If he had been circumcised, this would grant him correspondingly greater influence with them--a closer access to their hearts.
THE GOSPEL SENT TO EUROPE
After good success in the mission up to the point where today's Study begins, the Apostle had in mind a journey through Asia Minor. But apparently things went unfavorably until he concluded that the Lord was hindering their efforts; and in perplexity he began to think of other fields of labor. His moment of uncertainty was the Lord's opportunity for directing him. He dreamed that he saw a man dressed in the costume of the Macedonians, who beckoned to him and said, "Come over and help us."
The Apostle accepted this dream as of Divine leading, and promptly began the journey which took him into Europe. We have here an evidence of God's supervision of all the interests of His Church. He was not averse to permitting the Message to go into Asia Minor; for it went there later, possibly at a more opportune time. But this was the time for sending the Gospel to Europe. Evidently the Lord could have directed His Message southward through Africa and away from Europe; but there is a "due time" connected with every feature of the Divine Plan. And now, by Divine arrangement, the Message of God's grace in Christ was to go to the Greeks, who were recognized at this time as the foremost people of the world in literature and the arts.
It is supposed that about this time Luke, the physician, became attached to St. Paul's company. A man of education, a scribe as well as a physician, the Lord evidently provided him as St. Paul's amanuensis, that thereby the Apostle's letters should reach many of the churches of that time, as well as the Lord's people from then until now. Thus it came that Luke wrote not only a version of the Gospel, but also the Book of Acts and nearly all of St. Paul's Epistles.
Here we have another illustration of the privileges of the various members of the Body of Christ. Luke could not be the Apostle Paul, nor could he do St. Paul's work. But he could be used of the Lord honorably and efficiently in a greater spread of the Truth. So it is with us. We cannot be Apostles. We cannot do anything
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very great. But if we are filled with the Spirit of the Lord, it is our privilege to be used to some extent in some service of the Truth. And any service for the Lord and for the brethren, even to the washing of feet or to any menial service, is an honorable privilege.
PHILIPPI HONORED WITH THE GOSPEL
The first place in Europe for the preaching of the Good Tidings appears to have been Philippi, one of the chief cities of Macedonia. On the Sabbath day, as usual, the Apostle and his companions sought for some who worshiped God, and who hoped for the Kingdom that God had promised. They knew that such would be the better prepared to receive the Message which the Apostle had to deliver--that Jesus had appeared as the Redeemer and had laid the foundation for the Millennial Kingdom in the sacrifice of Himself; and that ultimately the blessings of His sacrifice would be made available to every creature; but that now, in advance of the Divine dealing with the world in general, the Lord is calling out a Spiritual Israel, a "little flock," to be His kings and priests with Jesus in the administration of the Millennial blessings.
Apparently there was no synagogue in Philippi; and matters may have looked very unfavorable to St. Paul and his companions. However, they heard of a little religious meeting held every Sabbath by the riverside, outside of the city gate. It was principally a prayer meeting and a place of Divine fellowship. Not having the facilities of a synagogue, they probably had no Scripture parchments, and hence no reading of the Law, but merely prayer and worship.
All this was favorable to the Gospel Message which the Apostle had to present. He spoke to those who resorted thither, commending the importance of their worshipful condition of heart and of praise to the Giver of all good. Then he proceeded to declare the Good Tidings of the Sacrifice of Jesus, of His death and resurrection, and of His Second Coming in power and great glory. He showed surely that the invitation now being given was for joint-sacrificers with Jesus, and that their reward would be joint-heirship with their Lord in His Millennial Kingdom, as members of His Body, the Church.--`Romans 8:17`; `2 Timothy 2:11,12`; `Galatians 3:29`.
However many or few were at the meeting, there was one present whose heart was in the right condition to receive the Message. This one was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple. She was from Thyatira, from the very district--Asia Minor--into which the Apostle had not been permitted to enter and preach. Probably she was in Philippi temporarily, engaged in merchandising-- perhaps of purple dyes or possibly of purple-dyed cloth. Dyes were much more expensive in olden times than now, and the secret of how to make them was turned to financial profit. Thus it is supposed that Lydia was in quite comfortable circumstances financially. Not only did the Truth open her heart, enlightening the eyes of her understanding, but she was prompt to obey it in full consecration and to symbolize that consecration in water baptism--"she and her household."
Not always do religious parents have religiously inclined children. Several instances of the kind are mentioned in the Scriptures. Personal experience teaches us also that the parent who is earnestly consecrated to the Lord and guided by His Word has generally a good influence upon those nearest to him and directly under his care. Such an influence should be hoped for, prayed for, sought for, by every parent. But it can be obtained only by carefulness, circumspection of word and of deed. These in subjection imply that the very thoughts of the heart have been brought into captivity to the will of God.
Nevertheless, parents who have failed to discern the Truth and to recognize its responsibilities until their children have outgrown parental instruction must not chide themselves unmercifully if their children do not respect them and their religious convictions. Rather they should remember that the Lord is thoroughly acquainted with the situation, and will hold them accountable only for what they do or fail to do after they have come to know Him and to have an opportunity for understanding the instructions of His Word respecting their own lives and the training of their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.--`Ephesians 6:4`.
"AND SHE CONSTRAINED US"
The fact that Lydia's household believed implies that she was the mother of adult children; and that these were so thoroughly under her influence that they worshiped with her the true God, neglecting the idolatries prevalent in Philippi. Since her husband is not mentioned, we may infer that she was a widow. Hence it was her right, without conference with anybody, to invite the Apostle and his companions to share the hospitality of her home. She seems properly to have realized that, instead of honoring them, she was honoring herself and her household by having such guests--the ministers of God, the brethren of Christ--under her roof. Note her language when inviting: "She besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."
The latter statement implies that the Apostle was not too ready to force himself upon anybody, that he did not urge, saying, "Surely myself and my companions, who have preached to you, should be served by you in temporalities"-- though this was the truth. Rather the Apostle made no reference to temporalities. Indeed, after Lydia's suggestion had been made, apparently it was not too quickly accepted, but with the indication that the disciples of Jesus had no desire to intrude upon others. This is implied in the statement that they were constrained-- gradually drawn or led to accept the invitation. How beautiful it is to see God's children wisely exercised in such matters! How much more is their influence upon one another for good!
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BE READY--FOR THE DAYS ARE EVIL
Let me suffer wrong without complaining,
While myself from doing wrong abstaining,
Through Thy grace and strength, O Lord, I pray!
Let me never smite the hand that smites me,
But do good to him who ill requites me;
Thus prepare me for the evil day.
Into Thine own image, Lord, transform me,
To Thy gentle Spirit so conform me
That this lesson never may be lost;
Not the poor oppressed, but the oppressor,
Not the injured, but the proud transgressor,
Is the one who needs our pity most.
My true Peace and Savior, be Thou near me,
That in suffering I may ne'er grow weary;
Be Thou near me to direct my way;
Strengthen Thou my soul when foes assail her,
That Thy patient spirit may not fail her;
Thus prepare me for the evil day.
That herself in patience still possessing,
She may find e'en woes to be a blessing.
Nor account them strange when they arise;
Point her to the happy realms above her,
Prepared by Thee, who dost ever love her;
And gave Thyself for her in sacrifice! Unknown.
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WE REAP WHAT WE SOW
--JUNE 11.--`GALATIANS 6:1-10`.--
NOT THE WORLD, BUT THE CHURCH, REFERRED TO--POOR SOIL AND INVOLUNTARY WEEDS HEREDITARY--SOWING REPRESENTS A VOLUNTARY ACT AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY --WHAT IS SOWING TO THE FLESH?--WHAT IS IT TO SOW TO THE SPIRIT?--WHAT SHALL THE HARVEST BE? --THE CONTEXT.
"God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."--`Verse 7`.
IT IS true that every person has a responsibility for his every wilful act and word. It is true, in a sense, that every human being will have a harvest considerably in accord with his own wilful course in life. Evidently, therefore, every human being could take a profitable lesson from the words of our Golden Text and receive a blessing in proportion as he would follow the spirit of that Text.
However, we are not to forget that the Apostle is not addressing the worldly, but the saintly. He is addressing the Church; and the Church is composed exclusively of persons who have left the world, turned their backs upon sin, accepted the Lord Jesus as their Savior and Advocate with the Father, and who have consecrated their lives wholly and unreservedly to the doing of the Divine will. Such, begotten of the Holy Spirit, are in the Bible styled New Creatures in Christ. (`2 Corinthians 5:17`.) To these, "old things have passed away; all things have become new"--new hopes, new aims, new ambitions, new prospects, new standards. These spiritually begotten children of God, and no one else, are addressed by the Apostle.
According to the Bible, God has great and precious provisions for the world in the future, but not in the present time. Now the Church of Christ, the saintly Bride class, is being selected from the world to constitute the Royal Family of the future, when completed and perfected by the First or Chief Resurrection. (`1 Peter 2:9`.) Then this Royal Family will, as God's Kingdom, deal with the world of mankind, ruling, instructing, uplifting, blessing, all the willing and obedient. Then the world will have its chance for sowing and reaping.--`Acts 3:19-23`.
THE SOIL AND THE SEED
The heart of the Christian is consecrated soil from the start--from the time that God accepts him as a child. Under Divine instructions special flowers and fruits are to be cultivated. These are styled fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. All Christians obedient to the Voice from Heaven are seeking to eradicate and destroy the weeds of sin and selfishness, which spring naturally in their flesh because of heredity.
Originally, Father Adam's flesh was perfect. The weeds of sin had not yet been planted. But now, there is no pure soil; sin-weeds are everywhere. Every Christian who would have the consecrated garden of his heart fruitful, pleasing to the Lord, must wage a vigorous and continuous battle against the weeds of sin, in order that his heart may be in the condition to receive the good seed commended in the Divine Word.
Vigilance is necessary, not only to keep down the weeds, but also to keep the soil in proper condition, that the seed may enter, germinate and bring forth good fruitage. The Christian must also battle against the thorns, which our Lord Jesus mentions as illustrating the cares of the present life and the deceitfulness of riches, which would choke the Word and make the life unfruitful, unprofitable. --`Matthew 13:22`.
The Christian who would expect to receive the reward of the Master's "Well done; enter into the joy of thy Lord!" must be very diligent in the sowing of the proper seeds in the garden of his heart. Acts, words and thoughts are the good seeds; and they must be sown carefully and persistently. They will yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. And these fruits and flowers of the Holy Spirit abounding in the garden of the heart, St. Peter tells us, will make such a Christian ready for an abundant entrance "into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."--`2 Peter 1:11`.
It is important that we sow good seed; and there is just one storehouse from which this is supplied--the Word of God. Whoever gives most attention to the words of our Lord Jesus through the Apostles and the Prophets, and whoever keeps this seed pure, free from contamination with worldly wisdom--science falsely so-called--and from the traditions of men--creeds--is best prepared to produce fruits and flowers to the Master's approval.
WHAT IT IS TO SOW TO THE FLESH
A mistake made by some of the Lord's people is that of sowing to the flesh, after having consecrated themselves to the Lord and having agreed to sow merely to the Spirit--in harmony with the Lord's will. Sowing to the flesh does not mean a thorough rebellion against the Lord, but rather the procurement and the sowing of bad seed--unprofitable seed. The spending of time, energy, money, etc., in the pursuit of pleasure or of earthly things or riches, whether successful or not, is sowing to the flesh.
The tendency of all such neglect of the Christian's covenant with his God is toward corruption--toward death. Many, indeed, may retrace their steps after finding that they have spent their talents improperly. But in such cases they have wasted time, energy and opportunity, and if they gain eternal life at all, it will doubtless be on a less glorious plane than if they had been faithful from the very beginning. Let us exhort ourselves and our fellows to sow to the Spirit--in accord with the glorious promises which God has made to us, which we have accepted, and to which we should be bending every energy in the development of the fruits and graces of the Spirit.
TREATMENT OF FELLOW CHRISTIANS
In the context the Apostle urges that each individual Christian should seek to bear his own burden rather than to lean upon the brethren. Each is to remember his own personal responsibility and not to get weary in well doing. Each is to remember the reaping time, the harvest time, when all who do not faint, all who do not grow weary, but who persevere, will receive their reward.
Additionally, the Apostle urges that while seeking to do, each for himself, we should be tender-hearted toward each other, yea, toward all men. "As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all, but especially to them who are of the Household of Faith."
Respecting those who are of the Household of Faith the Apostle urges that if we find a brother overtaken in a fault, we should show our own spirituality in the manifestation of the spirit of meekness and kindness toward the one at fault. We should bear each other's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ. We should cultivate the spirit of meekness by remembering that we ourselves might at some time be overtaken in a fault--in the future, if we had not in the past. We should learn to think humbly of ourselves. We are really nothing when compared with that which is perfect. Our standing with the Lord is not because of human perfection, but because of proper wills--good intentions--fully consecrated hearts.
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SOME PASTORAL COUNSEL ON MARRIAGE
GOD Himself performed the first marriage ceremony, by simply bringing together our first parents, Adam and Eve. Mother Eve was already bone of Adam's bone, and flesh of his flesh, but the two had been separated by God Himself. They were two in body, but one in heart; for He purposed that the entire race should be born from this one pair, in order that when sin should enter and involve the whole human family, the death of one person would suffice to redeem the entire race. "By man came death; by man also came the resurrection of the dead.--`1 Cor. 15:21`; `Rom. 5:12,19`.
The Bible clearly teaches that, when the great Plan of God shall be completed by bringing Restitution to the world, this Restitution will bring humanity to that condition in which Adam was previous to the separation of the woman from him. And so we have the words of Jesus to the effect that "Those deemed worthy to obtain that Age, and that resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage, because they are like the angels." (`Luke 20:35`.) In other words, in the Times of Restitution, males and females will all lose their distinctive features, and become again as Adam was in the beginning--each complete in himself--when the earth shall be filled with people. God does not design to over-fill the earth, but simply to fill it.
But while the union of man and woman is a matter of love between themselves, the Law steps in and says that there must be suitable regulations and some formal way of authorizing their union before others as witnesses, so as to avoid trouble in the future. Consequently there are certain specifications regarding licenses, etc., all of which we believe is quite proper.
A SPECIAL MEANING IN MARRIAGE
However, as Christian people who have the Word of God, and who as Bible students have come to some appreciation of that Word, we see in marriage a special meaning which God purposed when instituting the rite. Marriage between man and woman is a picture, or illustration, of the union to take place between Christ and the Church; and God so ordained that it should be. The Apostle in referring to marriage as a picture, goes on to say that as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, so also should men love their wives as their own body.--`Ephesians 5:25-32`.
Great love is this--that a man should do for his wife what he would do for himself! So Christ did all this for His Body, the Church. He did even more than this-- He laid down His life for us. This should further suggest that husbands should lay down their lives for their wives, and consequently should provide not only for her food and clothes, but for her mental and moral interests as well. These should all come under the care of the husband; and a good husband should see that his wife is well cared for, even at the sacrifice of some things for himself, as circumstances might suggest.
Then, turning to the other side of the matter, the Apostle says that as the Church reverences her Lord, so should wives reverence their husbands. Only as mankind has caught the spirit of this Divine lesson, only in that proportion do they understand how to get the best out of life. Those who follow strictly the Lord's arrangements get the most out of the marriage relation. The husband who loves his wife to the neglect of his own preference at times is the one who is likely to be appreciated most; and the wife who does what she can to serve her husband's interest and is devoted to him is an illustration of what the Church does for her Lord.
In this statement we are not undertaking to contradict the Apostle when he says, "He that marrieth doeth well, but he that marrieth not doeth better." (`1 Corinthians 7:38`.) He is not here addressing the world, but those who have devoted their lives to the Lord. If their marriage would not interfere with their consecration to the Lord, then they might marry. If it would interfere with their consecration, then for them to marry would be putting a mortgage on their lives. But there are cases in which both brethren and sisters have been benefited by marriage, not only personally, but in their relationship to the Lord and others.
We would not be understood to mean that those who marry are going contrary to the Lord. All who desire to please the Lord should be very careful in such a matter, however; and others should not attempt to criticize those who marry. This is the liberty with which God has made us free; and this is the liberty which we should both maintain for ourselves and grant to others.
"FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE"
Those who marry should have in consideration the fact that they are probably not marrying a person who is perfect; for the Bible tells us that "there is none perfect, no, not one." Neither one is perfect; and for one who is imperfect to ask that another shall be perfect, when neither one is or can be perfect, is manifestly wrong. However, each should endeavor to cover up his own weaknesses. There are those who are unwise in this matter. Our minds being perfect, we should live up to that high standard of mind as nearly as we can. We should hide every defect as quickly as possible, that there be no hindrance. It would be a mistake to think, when one is entering into marriage, that he is marrying somebody who is perfect. He has kept back his weakness from the other, and that one has kept back her weakness from him; and well might it be that they keep back their weaknesses throughout life.
The married should not inquire into the things of each other's past; for at the moment of the marriage each takes the other for better or for worse; there should be no looking back. So it is when the Lord accepts us; He does not go back to make investigations. Neither should we. If married couples should find that there are difficulties, they should not permit any one to interfere between them by endeavoring to straighten out their difficulties for them; for all such attempts make trouble. What God has joined together, let no one attempt to interfere with. Marital difficulties invariably cause a great deal of talk; and knowing this, we should be on guard lest we should do anything to increase difficulties in the lives of others. We are not even to sympathize. We are to leave them alone. Give them advice whenever they ask for it, but do not interfere. After they have married, it is for better or worse as long as they live.
So, then, marriage is a serious matter, and should be undertaken only after serious consideration. It is a very sacred obligation. The contracting parties bind themselves for the remainder of life. All marriages would be more satisfactory if this thought were fully appreciated and followed.
"Master, speak! and make me ready,
As Thy voice is daily heard,
With obedience glad and steady
Still to follow every word.
I am listening, Lord, for Thee:
Master, speak, speak on, to me!"
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BY BROTHER TOOLE, WITH EDITOR'S COMMENTS
The subject that we have been studying somewhat during the week has been that of Character Development. This is one feature of the Plan of God. Your part and my part in the eternal Plan of God depends upon our Character Development. God's Plan is going to be carried out. He will have a class selected from this earth who will worship and serve Him on the spirit plane of existence. He will ultimately have this earth inhabited with human beings who also will live in harmony with His holy Law. But whether we are to be of the Heavenly number, who will eternally love and praise Him and eternally enjoy His favor and blessing, or whether any one of us is to be of the earthly number, who also will eternally love and praise Him and eternally enjoy His favor and blessing, depends upon Individual Character Development. So after getting acquainted with the various features of the Plan of God in a general way, our minds seem naturally to fix upon that one thing upon which the enjoyment of God's eternal blessings depends.
The great questions that confront us then are: What is the standard of character that we must develop in order to have the assurance of enjoying the Plan of God in its consummation throughout the endless ages of eternity? Is it possible to develop such a character; and how is it developed?
Let us notice the standard that God has set. `Romans 8:29` says: "Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate [determine or decide] to be conformed to the image of His Son." This shows the standard; God has decided that this class, whom He did foreknow to be joint-heirs with Christ, should be character images of Christ.
That same thought is given to us in `Ephesians 4:11-16`, when it speaks of the Lord's providing of evangelists, teachers, pastors, etc., for the perfecting of the Church, for the edifying [instruction] of the Body of Christ. For how long? Until they come to the unity of the faith, unto a perfect Man. What is the perfect Man? "Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." You see from this last clause that the full measure of Christ's character is the standard.
Again, take `Ephesians 5:25-27`. It says: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the
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washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Now you can see that if the Church would be presented in His presence without blemish, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, she would be Christlike; wouldn't she?
What does it mean to be presented without fault or without blemish? It means that every imperfection of character is to be overcome. Every unholy quality of disposition is to be cleansed away. He washes us from our past sins by His blood; but it takes the Word and constant obedience to the Word to sanctify us.
For example, take pride. Pride is an unholy quality of character. It is the disposition of self-exaltation in heart or in act. Of a king it is written, "His heart was lifted up unto destruction." Humility is expressed in the exhortation: "Let each esteem others better [more important] than themselves"; and, "Not unto us, not unto us, but to Thy Name give glory." Now to be presented without fault and without blemish would mean that this disposition of pride would be so completely eradicated that no temptation, however strong, would ever in the heart in the least degree arouse self-importance or self-exaltation. This passage says that Christ can and has undertaken to save His people as completely as that. Now if He can purify us so completely from pride, could He not as completely cleanse us from any other blemish of character? Yes, we are to be presented without fault and without blemish-- perfect characters.
Further, since Christ makes the Church holy by making the individuals holy, this passage would read: Christ loved me and gave Himself for me that He might cleanse me by the Word, that He might present me unto Himself a glorious character without spot or wrinkle, but that I should be holy and without blemish. Here again holiness, or Christlikeness, is set as the standard.
Additionally, this passage also shows the possibility of reaching that standard. It says, Christ so loved the Church, not that He may do an impossible thing; for if it were impossible to become Christlike, if it were impossible that we could be presented holy and without blemish, do you think that Christ would have died and attempted it? No. Therefore the very fact that Christ died and attempted to sanctify the Church and present it holy and without blemish reduces it to a glorious possibility.
There are still other texts that teach the same thing. Take `Ephesians 3:14-19`: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and in earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." What does it mean to be filled with the fulness of God if it does not mean to be filled with Godlikeness? That is the only reasonable way that we can be filled with the fulness of God while in the flesh.
Here again the possibility of becoming Christlike is taught. God knew that our weak faith and our terrible depravity and our failure to make ourselves holy by our oft-repeated efforts would cause us to doubt the possibility of becoming Christlike by becoming filled with all the fulness of God. Yes; the thought of becoming a complete overcomer seems clear beyond the range of possibility. I once asked a brother, "Do you think it is possible to obtain the experience described in these verses?" He replied, "It is for some." Another replied to the same question, "According to their capacity." You see how they doubted the possibility. But now note carefully, thoughtfully and believingly every word of the `20th verse`, and note that it is referring to the grand experience described in the previous verses. "Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." You see He can do not only as much as you can conceive or ask, but abundantly more. It takes real faith to believe God can make you holy or Christlike. But the Scriptures say He is able. If we cannot find words with which to pray, we can point out these verses to the Lord and in faith ask Him to fulfil them to us.
Again, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness [righteous heart or character] for they shall be filled"--made holy. (`Matthew 5:6`.) "And sin [sinful disposition] shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under Law, but under grace."--`Romans 6:14`.
So we see there is no question as to the standard now. It is Christlikeness or holiness. And it is possible. And we can scarcely overestimate the importance of being thoroughly convinced of these two truths. If we are fully and deeply persuaded that we must become Christlike, or we cannot inherit eternal life, or the Kingdom, and if we are also fully persuaded that we can become like Christ in character we will arouse ourselves to seek to attain it. If we indulge the thought that our desire to be good, to be holy, to be Christlike, is all that is necessary, we will never be willing to seek to become holy with sufficient earnestness, or willing to endure the trials and take the crosses that will perfect us in love. Do not let the enemy deceive you. But let this thought ring in your ears; I must become Christlike and I can. There is a path that leads to it and I will find and follow it.
Now we will consider a few Scriptures that show the necessity of developing Christlikeness. Since Christ's character is the standard to be reached, and since it is reached gradually, we must get busy developing this character; or sooner or later we shall become completely and forever separated from our relationship with the Lord. (`John 15:2`.) "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit." You see the branch was in the vine and yet did not bear fruit--did not make the effort to become Christlike. What shall become of such branches? "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away." Your standing in the Lord is not because of your knowledge simply, but because you are becoming Christlike. Are you growing? Are you bearing increasingly the fruits of the Spirit? Do you know what it means to become like Christ? Do you have a clearer insight into what Christ's character is like? Wake up, brother, before you are cut off! If you have not been developing the various qualities of Christlikeness, start now by surrendering fully to the Lord and begin active obedience to God's Word. No more excuses!
Again, we must develop more and more the Spirit of the Lord in order to be useful now. First, by example. "Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (`1 Timothy 4:12`; `Titus 2:7,8`.) Are you growing? Are you becoming an example to others? Is the life, or spirit, of Christ being manifest in your mortal body? (`2 Cor. 4:10`.) God expects this of you. The brethren need such an example and stimulus as you can give.
Once more: In `Ephesians 6:18`, we are told to pray one
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for another with all prayer and supplication; and in `James 5:15,16`, we are told that the prayer of faith shall save the (sin) sick, and that the prayer of the righteous man availeth much. You see it is the prayer of a righteous man and the prayer of faith that is to bring results. A righteous man is not necessarily yet perfect, but he is obedient and growing. In `John 15:16`, you will notice that Jesus points out that the more we bear fruit (grow in holiness) the more successful will we be in prayer. Christ has chosen us to bear fruit, that whatsoever we ask the Father in His name He may give it us. You see, the more we develop in character the more we can serve the brethren by obtaining blessings and enlightenment and mercy for them through prayer. Have you the love that gives you the longing to thus help the brethren? or are you cold, critical and indifferent? If you are, you are in a dangerous position. Do you pray the prayer of faith and the prayer of the righteous man in behalf of the brethren? Does your love prompt you to this? You can have such a love if you will. (`1 Thessalonians 3:12`.) "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another."
Once more: The great work that the Lord has for us to perform in the coming Age demands that we become Christlike. No other character would do. We see how hard it is to deal with one another now owing to our lack in courage, faithfulness, patience, mercy, humility, firmness, etc. Nothing but the love described in `1 Corinthians 13` will fit us to deal with the fallen race. "Herein is love (to be) made perfect in us, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment, because as He is, so are we (to become) in this world." (`1 John 4:17`.) God has a love that is not discouraged with the deepest moral degradation in His object, but follows the welfare of the sinner with an unchilled devotion, though He hates the sin with a hatred no less than infinite; and we are to be "filled with all the fulness of God." You must grow, grow, grow into Godlikeness.
One more reason: The very character of God demands that we become holy. `Habakkuk 1:13` says: "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold [look on with approval] evil; Thou canst not look upon [countenance] iniquity." You see we must be purified from all iniquity and evil before we can have the approval of God. Every defect in our character is evil. So you see we must perfect character before God could eternally endure us. (`Psalm 5:4,5`.) "For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; evil shall not dwell with Thee-- Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity"; not only in its grosser
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and outward forms, but in its finer, more polished inward forms. God detects the smallest deflection in our hearts, and His character is so holy that He cannot but hate it. And this fitness of character to meet God's approval must be accomplished while in the flesh. Death and the resurrection will not make any change in our characters. The new body will only give us a better medium of expressing our true selves. This argument can be summed up thus: God, being holy, could not eternally endure an imperfect character. Therefore we must in this life become Christlike, or perfect in character; or else we cannot eternally dwell with God. "Be ye holy, for I the Lord your God am holy."
* * *
The foregoing article in many respects is excellent, and fully in accord with our presentations in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES--with but a few exceptions. In presenting the matter of holiness, perfection of character, Christ-likeness, we have been careful, in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, to point out that this does not signify a perfection in the flesh, which, the Bible shows us everywhere, is an impossibility. We have shown that it does mean a perfection of heart, of intention, of will, of endeavor. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds."-- `Matthew 5:8`; `1 Peter 3:15`; `Romans 12:2`.
All this may be exactly what Brother Toole had in mind; but since he has not stated the matter thus, there is, we believe, a danger that some might misapprehend his meaning. Some might think that he meant perfection in the flesh and might go to the extreme to which people have gone in the past of claiming that in act, in word, in thought, they were perfect as the Lord. This might lead to a kind of spiritual pride which would be very injurious, as it is unscriptural. On the other hand, some of the more conscientious of the Lord's people, realizing the imperfection of their flesh--their conduct, words, thoughts--might become wholly discouraged and give up the race entirely.
Some might even go to the length of imagining that they would become so perfect in the flesh that they would no longer need the Robe of Christ's Righteousness. This would be a serious mistake, as illustrated in the parable of the Wedding Garment--which shows that the taking off, or the rejection of the Robe of Christ's Righteousness would work the rejection of the individual from the company of the Lord's people. He would be cast into the outer darkness of the world--be cut off from the knowledge and illumination of Present Truth. We should always remember the force of the Apostle's statement, "Ye are complete in Him" (`Colossians 2:10`), and the Master's words, "Without Me ye can do nothing," and again, "If ye abide in me."--`John 15:5,7`.
The subject is a difficult one to many for various reasons. When first we heard the Gospel call we were "children of wrath even as others." (`Ephesians 2:3`.) As we sought to reach the Heavenly Father we found that He would not receive us except as we would come through the appointed Doorway--Jesus. We found next that Jesus would not accept us and become our Advocate and make it possible for us to come into the family of God unless we would make a full consecration of our lives to Him--surrendering our own wills, engaging to bear the cross, and following in the Master's footsteps. When we made such a self-surrender our Redeemer imputed to us His own merit, covering all our blemishes and making us acceptable to God. This, His gift, is figuratively styled the wedding garment.
But this imputation of the Savior's merit was not given to the New Creature, but to the old creature. It was when we were thus robed by our Savior that we were acceptable to the Heavenly Father, who justified us in spirit, in mind, and begat us with His Holy Spirit. From that moment we were embryo New Creatures, but without any proper spirit bodies. The Lord left us in the fleshly bodies covered with the Robe of Christ's Righteousness. It is the Father's will that while we as New Creatures thus tabernacle in the flesh, we should grow in grace, grow in knowledge, grow in love--grow in all the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit.
It is not the flesh that is to grow up into the Anointed in all things, but the New Creature. And the New Creature never was a sinner. From its very start or begetting it was holy. The New Creature, therefore, does not pass from sin to righteousness, but from one degree to another degree of knowledge and appreciation of righteousness. Every step of the New Creature is progress in Christ--progress along spiritual lines. The Lord has provided spiritual bread and spiritual water for the New Creature in the Bible, and its progress will be in proportion as these are recognized and assimilated.
Character-development is thus a daily, yea, an hourly, experience to these New Creatures. The character of Jesus becomes more and more their spirit, their disposition. If they maintain their original consecration, if they practise the lessons of the Lord's Word, and if they grow strong in the Lord through partaking of the Lord and His Spirit, they are thus becoming more and more copies of God's dear Son. They were copies of Him, so far as purity and consecration were concerned, at the very start. Their testing is along the lines of continued obedience, continued devotion, as they reach larger degrees of knowledge of the Word of God, of the Plan of God. Like their Redeemer they must demonstrate that they are faithful, even unto death--fully submitted to the Heavenly Father's will, fully loyal thereto.
But we must not mistake these New Creatures and too closely identify them with the flesh. "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." (`Romans 8:9`.) The flesh has its natural tastes, appetites and disposition through heredity. These will never be overcome entirely. Hence, as the Apostle says, there is continually a warfare between the flesh and the Spirit in the New Creation. The flesh warreth against the Spirit and the Spirit warreth against the flesh; and the two are contrary. (`Galatians 5:17`.) The New Creature fights his good fight of faith in that he stands loyal to the Lord and continues to seek in every way the will of God, as did the Savior. This may mean various encounters with his own flesh. As St. Paul says, it signifies brow-beating himself--keeping his body under. According to the Bible, it will be a fight to the finish. If the flesh conquers, the New Creature dies--and that will mean the Second Death. If the New Creature conquers, it will be by the death of the flesh.
It is impossible for us to judge one another in this matter. Some of the Lord's most loyal people may have a great fight with their flesh. On-lookers might be inclined to judge them severely and to think that they were not sufficiently loyal. But God alone knoweth the heart. In some instances, as St. Paul intimates, it is difficult even for one to judge himself
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aright--difficult to know to what extent the New Creature has done all in its power to war a good warfare against the flesh, and to what extent the New Creature may have been partially excusable for some failure to come up to its highest ideals. St. Paul says, "It is a light thing that I should be judged of you or of any man, yea, I judge not mine own self. There is One that judgeth me." (`1 Corinthians 4:3,4`.) Sometimes the battle is so closely drawn, sometimes the New Creature is so beset by the world, the flesh and the Adversary, that his victory may seem to outsiders to be rather ignoble. God alone knows to what extent better results were possible.
Every Christian, however, has recognized that, if his heart has been faithful to the Lord and the victory has been only a partial one even, nevertheless valuable lessons have been learned by the New Creature, and its faithfulness and endurance have demonstrated its loyalty to the Lord and the principles of His righteousness, His government. We would be perfect; but we, as New Creatures, have this treasure in earthen vessels, and they are imperfect; hence our results are not satisfactory according to the flesh. They are satisfactory, however, to the Lord, if we are loyally striving for righteousness, laying aside weights and hindrances and seeking by every failure to make ourselves the stronger to endure further temptations, tests, trials.
The test of Jesus' character was humility, resignation to the Father's will in everything, even unto death, even the death of the cross. This demonstrated His love to the Father, His loyalty to the principles represented in the Father's character and government. These are the tests upon all the followers of Jesus. Whoever has this love and this loyalty is, to that extent, a copy of God's dear Son--not in the flesh, but in the spirit.
Let us all be fully agreed as to the grand perfection of character of the Heavenly Father and of our Savior and as to the fact that this heart-desire must be in us if we would have the mind of Christ. It is for the Lord to permit increasing trials and tests to come upon us as we grow older and stronger. Sometimes He permits a great fight from within or without, or both; and the New Creature is put to the test of endurance. It is not the Lord's intention that these trying experiences shall crush the New Creature; but, on the contrary, that the putting forth of endeavor to resist the Adversary and every evil shall make the New Creature the stronger. We have the promise, "He will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with every temptation provide a way of escape."--`1 Corinthians 10:13`.
Thus it was with our dear Redeemer: At the very close of His ministry came His most severe tests, and He cried in an agony of spirit, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from
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Me." The triumph of the New Creature is shown in the succeeding sentence, "Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done." As with the Savior, so with the disciple--there is a struggle, a fight, to the end of the journey. With the Master every trial brought a victory. With His followers, because of their inherited weaknesses of the flesh, this is not so except as the Lord by His grace turns a partial defeat into a victory.
The New Creature, even partially defeated, is exhorted by the Apostle to come with courage to the Throne of Heavenly Grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help for future needs. In doing this, he is doing what God intended and foreordained for him. But "if we say we have no sin [and as respects our flesh, no imperfection of act, word, thought] we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. [But] if we confess our sins [our shortcomings], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity." (`1 John 1:8,9`.) He is just, for this is His Plan. This is the arrangement He has made, that He might be just and yet be the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.
In making this provision for the weaknesses of our flesh, God is not compromising with sin. And in accepting this provision, we as New Creatures are not compromising with sin, either. It is not the New Creature that sins. Its hopes, aspirations, desires are proper. But because of the weaknesses of the flesh and surroundings of evil, the New Creature cannot do all it would, but must be continually striving, attaining and setting its mark higher and higher, as clear knowledge of the Divine will is gained. This is fruit-bearing, character-development, acceptable in the Lord's sight through Jesus Christ, but not acceptable in any other way; for our very best endeavors are more or less blemished by the imperfections of our flesh.
Thus we perceive the necessity for our continuing under the robe of Christ's righteousness--wearing the wedding garment which He has provided--until our glorious "change" shall come, the resurrection change. Then we shall be through with our flesh and through with every provision which God has made for the covering of its blemishes; for we shall be New Creatures complete, spirit-bodied as well as spirit-minded. The Apostle emphasizes this, saying, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." We must all be changed. He explains the change, saying, "Sown in weakness, raised in power; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown an animal body, raised a spirit body."--`1 Corinthians 15:42-44`.
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A BLIND BOY'S WISDOM
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have been thinking of writing to you since coming into the wonderful light of God's Plan, through a young blind brother, Arthur Page, 19 years old; but I have so far refrained from doing so lest I might infringe on your time. However, on reading the article in THE WATCH TOWER of March 1st, "Philip and the Ethiopian." I was so struck with the comparison between Philip and Brother Page that I can no longer refrain. His directness and quite apparent sincerity arrested my attention and interest from the first.
Perhaps I may briefly tell what was clearly the work of our loving Father; After working for three years as a lay missionary of the Church of England, in Canada, in lumber, railroad and mining camps, under the Church Camp Mission (Winnipeg), I was returning last November from Dawson, Yukon, where I had been amongst the miners in the Klondike District. Previous to going to Canada I had been four and one-half years at Trinity College, Dublin, finishing my divinity course there. My object in returning was to be ordained for a curacy in the city of Belfast, Ireland.
There being no Chaplain on board, I was asked to act in this capacity, and after the evening service in the third class dining room on our first Sunday at sea, I was told that a blind boy would like to see me. I was introduced to Brother Page, who asked if I would read to him during the voyage. I was glad of the opportunity, and on the following morning we began. He asked to have only the Bible. Beginning at The `Acts` of the Apostles, I read the `first chapter` till, in `verse 16`, I came to a mention of David, when he asked me pointedly, "Where do you think David is now?" Not knowing, I said so, and he asked further, "Where do you think Adam is?" As I couldn't make out the point of the question I told him that I didn't think Adam's whereabouts was of any importance. He smiled, and quietly pointed out his belief in the matter, and I felt drawn by its reasonableness.
We discussed little more that morning, and for the remainder of the week we had no opportunity for reading, owing to rough weather. However, on the following Monday morning about a dozen passengers asked if they could be present during our reading, as tremendous interest had been aroused by the blind boy's knowledge of the Bible, especially when it was discovered that twelve months previously he couldn't have quoted half a dozen texts. None of the hundreds on board had been able to puzzle him on any point, so they seemed anxious to see how the "parson" would fare.
For the five remaining days of the voyage there was such interest that we had to have studies three times each day, beginning immediately after breakfast. The study went on till the steward came to lay the tables for dinner; then we adjourned till after the meal, when we usually began again at 2, continuing till "table-laying" again, when several invariably asked what time the evening meeting began. Seven-thirty was the usual hour, and the time seemed to fly till a steward came at 11 o'clock to put out the lights. A couple of evenings we were allowed to continue till 12, provided we spoke low.
Every denomination seemed to be represented; all brought forward the various "pet" doctrines. Brother Page did the answering, while I endeavored to keep pace with him in looking up the numerous passages he cited. Right from the beginning not one was able to contradict his reasoning. Of course, I was very much astonished, but I saw that he could reason on points that we daren't touch. Once I grasped the fact that we are souls, instead of the former idea of our possessing a mysterious something, I seemed to realize how wrong had been my former view of this. Soon I was supporting Brother Page, unconsciously, against my own views.
There were always from 20 to 50 at the studies, and so keen was the interest that on one occasion so many crowded on the table the pressure broke the supports. There was a young, unlearned blind boy, calmly answering questions as fast as they could be put, from those who had been professing
Christians for probably 20 years or more! Yet he was quite clear and convincing. Occasionally some one would attempt frivolity; Brother Page would rebuke him very directly, but lovingly, and his frivolity ended. It was easy to see from the faces of many who attended regularly that we all had similar thoughts--the Holy Spirit of God was his guide.
We got to Tilbury on Saturday evening, and on Sunday I spent the afternoon and also the evening at the Tabernacle with Brother Page. When I saw the whole congregation going down for tea between the meetings I could scarcely believe my eyes; and the fellowship with all there felt like a foretaste of Heaven. Before crossing over to Ireland I got Volumes I. and V. from Brother Hemery, whose kindness was an inspiration.
I had a rather stormy interview with the Bishop, under whom I had arranged to work. I felt a bit nervous as I went into his study to suggest what seemed very heretical, and I found myself quite confident when with him. It was very sad to listen to his arguments. The interview resulted in my being advised to read three books. I tried to do this, but I found that once having started Volumes I. and V., the old, foggy "creed" books were an impossibility, every page seeming full of error. I felt no pleasure in the old books--rather a feeling of forced medicine. But with the Volumes I could scarcely realize that I wasn't dreaming, everything seemed so reasonable and delightful. Subjects that we read books on, and were lectured on for weeks in College were made beautifully clear in a few pages.
I have now left the Church of Ireland, and feeling that I could not offer the Lord less than my whole time, I have decided to take up the Colporteur work here, as the brethren feel there is work to be done. I have been at it for a week, and enjoyed it immensely. But as I hadn't read Volume VI., I decided to do so before continuing. Words cannot express what a help and pleasure the reading of this volume has
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been! I have many a time put it down during reading to try to realize the wonderful love of God that it opens up; and how clear it makes such points as Baptism, Passover, etc!
Brother Lloyd is coming over from England to give me a few lessons in Colporteuring, so I am looking forward with much joy to this.
There seems to be no end to the Lord's goodness. He opened up the way for my going to Liverpool a few weeks ago to see the PHOTO-DRAMA, and this was very delightful, as well as meeting with and being strengthened by the brethren there.
Brother, I fear I have trespassed too much on your time. I find it very hard to write briefly, so this letter has grown beyond bounds; and even then I haven't told the half of the Lord's great goodness!
I feel glad that I had to give up a little in the world in order to be with His followers. I feel I am a weak runner, but I long to run so as to obtain the Prize. It is grand to be a "babe" with such loving, helpful elder brothers and sisters! I would dearly love to thank you personally; but if I win in the glorious Race I hope to do so then. Meanwhile I give all the thanks to the Lord, and all will be His forever. I have been asked to send you the enclosed cuttings regarding the "two horns" of the Image.
That the Lord may bless you and all at Bethel with the fulness of His peace, is the constant prayer of
Your brother by His grace, T.H. BROWNE.
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NO PEACE TILL GOD SPEAKS IT
DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It is only because I know your time is precious that I refrain from time to time to write you telling of our appreciation of your faithful and untiring service. We wonder more and more, dear Brother, as we note the broadening avenues of service into which our Heavenly Father privileges you to enter while the enemies of the Truth are being hampered on every side--the waters of trouble rising higher and higher about them. We rejoice for you, and for the privileges which are ours through your faithful ministry.
We note your confession of some trepidation with regard to what you find it your duty to say through THE WATCH TOWER from time to time relative to the conduct of the war. We feel assured that those who have grasped clearly the Harvest Truth, and who still love it, will generally agree that you are fair and impartial. They will realize that your grasp of the history the nations have written, and of the principles supposed to underlie the conduct of international affairs, together with the course the different belligerents are all taking, require that you, as a faithful steward, speak as you believe the Lord regards the course of the nations. We feel that your utterances are Heaven-directed in order that those who know the Truth, and all Truth-seekers may see the more clearly why the nations are at war, the necessity that all who are heart-proud, in their own interest as well as that of others, be humbled; and the absolute impossibility of peace until God speaks with authority.
Gratitude fills our hearts more and more for the privilege of knowing something of the Lord's plans, as a safeguard against pessimism, bitterness or discouragement, as we see these sentiments fastening themselves upon so many of those who do not know.
The war comes pretty close to us in Canada. The methods being employed in the recruiting campaign, every possible lever being pulled without regard to individual conviction as to what is right--in a fight which is claimed to be against Militarism, and in a land where every citizen is supposed to be free--is an interesting study. We can, especially of late, hear a rising murmur of dissatisfaction--a revulsion of public sentiment--which in the light of the Scriptures we see to be the sure harbinger of coming trouble along other lines. The "little finger" of clerical power is rapidly marshalling secular pressure to its support, and correspondingly becoming the "heavy hand" of oppression.
Canada, as a whole, you already know is not lagging behind the United Kingdom. St. John is keeping well to the front, with a continual change of tactics. A strong coercive method at first was employed through recruiting meetings in auditoriums and in the open, at which dire threats were handed out to the people. Because of public resentment this gave place to something more like inciting the scorn of the gentler sex for what they termed "slackers." Then came criticism of the gentler sex because they did not get into line as fully as was desired; also criticism of their position as lacking the spirit of patriotism and of self-sacrifice. Then came "bill-posting" on telegraph poles and everywhere, and a freezing-out of men eligible for service from the various industries. Now we have a body of French-Canadian soldiers billeted here who are commissioned, individually, to button-hole young men everywhere, using whatever methods may be considered effective; those methods include the use of intoxicants. (I am not in position to say the use of intoxicants is authorized --but it is practised.)
I have just mailed to the office (File H) newspaper report of recent Charge of Bishop Richardson (Episcopal), representing him as following the lead of the Bishops of London in debarring the clergy (so far as expression of sentiment goes) from the privilege of becoming actual combatants, but stating that it is their duty to "heap scorn upon any suggestion of selfishness or slacking" on the part of others. I do not know how long the temper of Canadians will stand this. I thank God for the power of the Truth in my own case. I have felt that I could bear injustice toward myself with considerable grace, but the wholesale measuring out of injustice to others has always brought to my notice an element in my make-up the effect of which would give me serious concern, in this day of aggravated injustice, were it not for the power and spirit of the Truth. Even while thus fortified and guarded I feel that probably my strongest test will come right along this very line.
How secure we are in our "Strong City"! How safe from any threatening storm! The friends in the Provinces are of a good courage. The participation in DRAMA and Convention privileges of the past two seasons, especially, has been rich in blessing to us all.
Sister Black joins me in expression of increasing love for you, dear Brother, remembering you ever in our prayers, and asking a continued interest in your prayers that we may be faithful unto death.
"We will rejoice in Thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners."
Your brother by Divine favor, W. W. BLACK.
STRANGE STATEMENTS OF PREACHERS
DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It has fallen to my lot to have had not a few clergymen in audiences that I have been privileged to address, but to have had presiding elders and bishops among them has been rare; yet in at least three cases this has occurred. In each instance a special experience marked the occasion. It has occurred to
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me that it may be of interest to you to hear a report of the experiences; therefore, I will write you a short account.
The first experience was with an U.B. bishop. The discourse was on The Resurrection. He took elaborate notes. At the end of the service one of the brethren, recognizing the bishop, asked him how he liked the lecture. He replied: "I liked it first rate, but do not agree with the speaker. I would like to divide time with him before an audience. I can quote ten verses to his one on the subject." (I had cited by book, chapter and verse over a hundred verses to prove our position as Scriptural)
At this remark the brother told him that the speaker would, if the bishop desired it, enter a debate with him. Leaving the bishop the brother came to me, telling me of the bishop's remark. Thinking that it would give the Truth a wide hearing, I said I would be pleased to debate with him. The brother then returned to the bishop and asked to introduce him to me. After the introduction the bishop, assuring me that he had taught Greek thirty years, said that he wanted to correct an ungrammatical remark that I had made on the Greek text. It turned out that the bishop was mistaken, and admitted that the mistake was his. After several criticisms of the thoughts of the lecture, and his manifest inability to meet my replies, in response to my query as to time, place, etc., of the debate, he said that he thought no good would come from a public debate, but a private talk over the matter might yield good! With this he left. His attempt to undermine the influence of the address miscarried.
The second case was that of a presiding elder, who attended a lecture on The Two Salvations. Introducing himself at the conclusion of the lecture he invited me to call on him. During the call he assured me that he did not believe in eternal torment, though he preached it. Asked why he so preached, he answered that the people were not yet enough enlightened to be given the Truth on the subject without injury
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to themselves, the church, the clergy and society. Asked why this was, he answered, "They would forsake the churches, leave the ministry unsupported, and commit all sorts of excesses, unrestrained by fear of torture." What a commentary on the moral effects of the ministry's work! He confided in me the statement that he was a Universalist as well as an Evolutionist and Higher Critic; yet he rebuked me for preaching against eternal torment!
The third case was that of an Episcopal bishop, who attended a semi-public meeting that I addressed this week on The Overthrow of Satan's Empire. Before the service, in a conversation that he held with the elder of the class that gave the meeting, he very strongly defended the doctrine of Apostolic Succession and the Divine Right of the clergy. In this particular lecture the latter doctrine is attacked from many points of view. During the course of the lecture I did not deviate from my usual way of presenting the doctrine of the Divine Right of the clergy. My remarks on the subject, though delivered very kindly, seemed deeply to cut the bishop. His face became redder than the red in the Stars and Stripes that decorated the stage from which I spoke. The way he squirmed in his chair one would have thought that he was seated on pins. He remained throughout the entire lecture, but did not wait to meet me. I could not but think that we are now judging the kings and princes!
By the way, there is another matter that I think might be well to bring to your attention, i.e., the friends by letter asking the Pilgrims to answer questions. You will recall that some time ago, in view of the fact that they travel on one-day appointments, which scarcely leaves them time properly to do the work at the places they visit, as well as in view of the fact that the dear Lord, mindful of the needs of His dear flock, has through the Correspondence Department at the Tabernacle arranged for the answer of just such questions, you wrote the Pilgrims a letter, which you afterwards published in the TOWER, asking them to refer the brethren who asked them questions by mail to the page in the STUDIES where the subject is treated, or better still, to write their questions to the Correspondence Department at the Tabernacle. Judging from the number of letters that I receive asking questions, I have concluded that a large number of the friends have either overlooked or forgotten your letter on the subject.
Feeling that it is for me to abide by your suggestion contained in the above-mentioned letter, I do not answer these questions, but write to them telling them the condition. This, of course, consumes time for them and me, and is doubtless disappointing to them. Is there not some way in which this matter can be brought to their attention, whereby they can be spared disappointment, as well as save the Pilgrims' time, and receive their answers all the sooner? I am glad to note their zeal to learn the good Word of God, and would gladly answer their questions if this were in harmony with the Lord's will; but under the circumstances it is of profit to nobody for them to write to the Pilgrims for their information. For this reason I thought it might be well to bring it to your attention, trusting that it may result in larger blessing to all concerned in the matter.
The dear Lord has been blessing me richly in many ways both by toward and untoward circumstances. Was very much pleased by the reports of the year's work of the Society. My prayer to the Lord is that He continue to bless His cause, people and servants, especially yourself among them. Rejoicing that I am privileged to be associated in this the best of fellowship and service with you, and sending you much Christian love, with the assurance of my continued prayers for, and cooperation with you, I remain
Your brother and fellow servant, PAUL S.L. JOHNSON.
"ABRAHAM SAW MY DAY AND WAS GLAD"
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greetings and love in the dear Lord! I take this opportunity of expressing my love for you, and for the service in which you are engaged so faithfully.
It was in the year 1908 that I began to read the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. From that time on I have not failed to find something to encourage, strengthen and uplift even though I have gone through many trials that have appeared more than I could bear, from outward observation.
I am continually reading the STUDIES, and the "Old, Old Story," which their pages forthtell with no uncertain sound, always appears new. I find each time I go through them something I never saw before. Recently I have been going through TABERNACLE SHADOWS again, and have been particularly struck with the thought that Abraham was Justified by Faith in Christ.
I should be glad, dear brother, if you will explain just how it was possible for this to be. The question has been raised several times here and I have not been satisfied with the answers given at any time.
Some have suggested that "If Brother Russell were writing TABERNACLE SHADOWS now he would not put those words in..." Is this correct?
I have also heard on various occasions, when studying the Volumes, that Brother Russell has left various points without a full explanation in order that we might study for ourselves. I am, dear brother,
Yours in the Anointed, __________,
Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see My Day; he saw it and was glad."--`John 8:56`.
Abraham knew that God's promise to bless all the families of the earth was sure to be fulfilled. He saw the Day of Christ--the Millennium--and its glorious work by the eye of faith. Similarly he saw the great Messiah the King by the eye of faith; yea, more, by the same eye Abraham saw the millions of Adam's race blessed of God by the Messiah, His Seed, during the Millennium.
THINKS IT UNEQUALED
DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS:--
With the enclosed renewal of my subscription to THE WATCH TOWER I cannot refrain from an expression of appreciation. For clearness of thought, cohesion of ideas and strength in "The Word," it is surely not equaled in any present-day religious publication. I look forward to each issue and read it with avidity, and am deeply grateful to each of the dear brothers and sisters who are assisting in its publication. With sincere thanks to all who have assisted in opening to my view a horizon of promise more glorious than the splendor of the setting sun. I remain,
Your brother in hope, J. H. BENNETT.
I. B. S. A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
MANUAL ON SERIES THIRD
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
STUDY VI.=="THE WORK OF THE HARVEST"
Week of June 7..Q. 29 to 35 Week of June 21..Q. 43 to 49 Week of June 14..Q. 36 to 42 Week of June 28..Q. 50 to 56
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International Bible Students Association Classes STUDIES AND LECTURES BY MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION